Saturday, February 19, 2011

I'm losing more than just weight

Several days ago I was driving in my car thinking about my weight loss, my personality, actions that pushed me to gain as much weight as I gained and of course, actions that pushed me to finally make a change in my life. I do this a lot while driving, as it is a time where I'm alone, trapped, unable to do anything else but drive, think and perhaps listen to music.

I determined on this drive that I am a creature of excess. I don't mean I'm greedy and it's not exclusive to gluttony. No, it's excess. I can't do anything moderately. From the time I was a little girl I was a spirited, opinionated, tenacious and passionate to the point of it nearly being obsessive, individual. I was a perfectionist. My emotions are just as excessive (not to be confused with a disorder like bipolar, I'm not a manic/depressive). When something makes me happy, I'm really happy, when I'm sad, I'm REALLY sad. If something pisses me off, watch out because my anger competes with that of a grizzly bear.

When I was in fourth grade my great uncle passed away. I come from a very close knit family. My family had moved nearly 1000 miles away from "home" but upon the news of his death we had to travel back. The morning we were to be leaving for the flight, I insisted on going to school. My mother wanted me to stay home but I felt I couldn't miss a day of school. Before she could stop me I was out the door and on the bus.  Two hours later she had to pick me up on the way to the airport.

My pre-teen years were no different. Anything I did it was an all or nothing deal. At 13 I was obsessed with New Kids on the Block, as many other pre-teen girls were! My fan-dom did not stop at a few mix tapes or a couple of posters, no, my room was covered, wall to wall (not a spec of white space to spare) with posters. This included the ceiling. I recorded every television spot, even if it was just a commercial for a television show. I went to every concert there was in the area. I purchased every piece of crap I could find that was about NKOTB - shirts, hats, buttons, pins, pillow cases, sleeping bags, necklaces, key chains, trading cards - you name it, I had it. My actions were over the top.

By high school, it was politics and social issues. I wanted to save the world, in between getting stoned. But, when I got stoned, I got REALLY, REALLY stoned. I had to smoke enough to be numb.  I remember (from what memories there are of the events) times when my lips were numb and my limbs tingled. I remember getting so blitzed that I nearly passed out (and sometimes did). Perhaps I was self medicating the pain I felt from all the torment of being an obese teenager. Perhaps I just wanted to get high. I don't know. I really think it was more about me not doing anything in moderation. I had that feel good feeling and I wanted it to the MAX. 

In my early twenties, it was the Internet and chats. I became addicted to technology. I would spend the day hours working and then immediately come home and get on the computer. There I would stay until I would get ready for work the next morning. Often I would go for days without sleeping. Weekends I would stay awake from Friday morning until finally crashing sometime into the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning only to wake up and do the entire week of no sleeping again.

Two years ago I decided to go back to school. My first year back in school I took 38 credit hours while working a full time job, having a baby under a year old at home. . .EXCESSIVE! I'm happy to say I did get a 4.0 during all of those terms, but could I not have been a bit more moderate in my selections? While it was beneficial to get such a large chunk of my education done during that year, I nearly broke my back and took on a major risk of failure by doing so.

This change in my life is about so much more than just dropping some weight. It is a transformation of mind, body and soul.

I'm learning to be less excessive and more accepting.

Would you consider yourself a person of excess? When reading this could you relate to any of these "non-food" binges?


  1. Welcome Back! Missed your blogging for the past few weeks. Hope your husbands knees are doing well.

    When I am passionate about something I take it to the extreme - usually to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. I was passionate about starting my business 14 years ago and I let my house and relationships stale while I worked on making it a success. I was still into the food then so I did not notice what I was missing in life: the little things like dinner as a family . . . . the kids games at school . . . cuddling time with hubby in the evenings.

    This is only one example. I have so many. Today I am learning to pause and consider what is really important in life ~ my true passions.


  2. Jane,
    I'm glad to be back! My husband is doing so, so well and things are getting to be a bit closer to "normal" now that he can drive again! Yes!

    I really think my drive to compulsively overeat is directly linked to this little piece of my personality. It really just dawned on me the other day that this behavior is not just exclusive to food - it applies to so many other things in my life.

    I really think this little tidbit of knowledge about myself will help me as I keep walking these steps. Perhaps they will help someone else too. :)

    As always, while I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I'm thankful to have someone that relates. So thank you, Jane.

  3. I totally get your experience. When I was at my heaviest, my life was out of control. I was emotional to excess and spent money in excess. And just as I was inattentive to my physical well-being, I was inattentive to my financial well-being: I couldn't maintain a budget, I'd forget when bills were due, I didn't spend mindfully. I'm happy to say that once I got the structure in my life to monitor my food intake and to fit exercise into my day, I also became more structured and/or attentive to my emotional and financial health.

  4. I am also a person of excess. It's all or nothing with me. In addition, I have an inner fear of lack that promotes immediate gratification. Gotta eat this now, it won't be here tomorrow--she only makes it once a year gotta have it now. This is a great sale price, I'll never find it this low again, gotta get it now.

    I am just now beginning to understand the driving emotions behind my behavior. Several books that have helped me along the way.
    Dr. Amen: Change your brain, change your body.
    Beck Diet Soluton (Cognitive Therapy strategies)
    All of Geneen Roth's books.
    Tis a long journey, but at least I'm aware that I am on the journey.
    I used to be oblivious.